Conversation and information about music and liturgy from a confessional Lutheran perspective.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Of all the secular "holidays", Thanksgiving is my favorite. There are just so many wonderful Thanksgiving hymns! (And, besides, I'm a foodie. No wonder I love the French!)

Anyway, I'm just wondering what y'all are cookin' for tonight & tomorrow. Here's what's on the menu at Bethany:

OPENING HYMN - "Come Ye Thankful People Come" LSB #892 concertato for organ, piano, choir, congregation.

CALL TO WORSHIP - Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Proclamation

PRELUDE - "We Gather Together" Handbell arrangement by Frances Callahan.

ENTRANCE HYMN - "We Praise You, O God" LSB #785

LITURGY - A Liturgy of Sevenfold Thanks (basically a Thanksgiving Lessons & Songs format)

I. Thanksgiving For the Gospel (Luke 7:36-50) "Give Thanks" LSB #806

II. For the Company of Saints (Rev. 7:13-17) "Oh, How Blest Are They" LSB #679

III. For Children and Families (Mark 10:13-16) "Let Children Hear the Mighty Deeds" LSB #867

IV. For the Friendship of Believers (Eph. 4:1-6) "Gracious God, You Send Great Blessings" LSB #782

V. For the Harvest (Eccl. 2:24-26; 3:9-13) Quartet: "The Eyes of All" setting by Michael Larkin

VI. For the Earth (Psalm 8) Choir Anthem: "For the Beauty of the Earth" setting by John Rutter.

VII. For the United States of America (1 Peter 2:13-17) "My Country 'Tis of Thee" (original words)


VOLUNTARY "Songs of Thanksgiving" piano/organ duet arr. by Stephen Nielsen & Ovid Young

OFFERTORY HYMN "For the Fruits of His Creation" LSB #894


BENEDICTION "The Lord Bless You and Keep You" (choir; setting by Peter Lutkin)

CLOSING HYMN "Now Thank We All Our God" LSB #895

POSTLUDE "Now Thank We All Our God" handbell choir playing transcription of the Paul Manz organ prelude by Martha Lynn Thompson

In the AM we'll have Matins. Psalm 65 setting by Barbara Semen and Gradual by Carl Schalk (Psalm 104:24, 27-28,33; "I Will Sing to the Lord as Long as I Live"). Hymn of the Day will be "Sing to the Lord of Harvest" (#893). "Come, You Thankful People, Come", "We Gather Together", "Give Thanks", and "Now Thank We All Our God" will be reprised. Liturgical variation will be use of a Kyrie by my Comprehensive Music professor at the University of North Texas, the sainted Avon Gillespe. Years after his death I found that he had written a setting of the mass for the Roman Catholic church, the Kyrie from which I have taught our congregation.

I'll give thanks for the many teachers who cultivated the art of music in me as we sing and pray the Lord's mercy upon us all.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! Share the joy! :)

Friday, November 12, 2010


One of my wife's friends sent her this video that is sure to strike a nerve with all musicians and pastors who perform weddings.

Being in a strongly confessional church, I don't have many "bridezillas" in my office. But I've had a few in my days.

In addition to some medicinal laughter for pastors & musicians & their families, I also recommend the following for those who don't understand why most of us vastly prefer playing for funerals over weddings.

(Warning: one four-letter word. Don't worry, it's not a commandment-breaker. Just a heads up not to watch this with unconfirmed minors.)

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Thanks, everyone, for sharing your selections for Reformation Day. Let's move on to this Sunday: All Saints' Day (transferred). I've got two questions for us:

1 - What hymns will your people sing, and what liturgy will you use?

2 - Will you observe a Commemoration of the Faithful Departed from your parish in the last year? If so, would you mind describing your rite (what you do) and ceremony (how it is done)?